The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom or Britain, is a sovereign country in western Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state—the Republic of Ireland. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland, with an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world and the 11th-largest in Europe. It is also the 21st-most populous country, with an estimated 65.1 million inhabitants, together, this makes it the fourth-most densely populated country in the European Union. The United Kingdom is a monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 6 February 1952, other major urban areas in the United Kingdom include the regions of Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester. The United Kingdom consists of four countries—England, Scotland, Wales, the last three have devolved administrations, each with varying powers, based in their capitals, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, respectively. The relationships among the countries of the UK have changed over time, Wales was annexed by the Kingdom of England under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. A treaty between England and Scotland resulted in 1707 in a unified Kingdom of Great Britain, which merged in 1801 with the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, there are fourteen British Overseas Territories. These are the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, British influence can be observed in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former colonies. The United Kingdom is a country and has the worlds fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP. The UK is considered to have an economy and is categorised as very high in the Human Development Index. It was the worlds first industrialised country and the worlds foremost power during the 19th, the UK remains a great power with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence internationally. It is a nuclear weapons state and its military expenditure ranks fourth or fifth in the world. The UK has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946 and it has been a leading member state of the EU and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. However, on 23 June 2016, a referendum on the UKs membership of the EU resulted in a decision to leave. The Acts of Union 1800 united the Kingdom of Great Britain, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have devolved self-government
BBC Sport is a department of the BBC North division providing national sports coverage for BBC Television, radio and online. Results, analysis and coverage is also added to the BBC Sport Website, the BBC has broadcast sport for several decades under individual programme names and coverage titles. Grandstand was one of the more notable Sport programmes, broadcasting sport since the launch in 1958. This practice continued throughout the two decades. Upon the launch of the BBC News website in 1997, sport was included in the BBCs online presence for the first time, in May 2007, the BBC Trust approved plans for several BBC departments, including BBC Sport, to be moved to a new development in Salford. The new development at MediaCityUK marks a major decentralisation of BBC departments from London, the department moved into Quay House, MediaCityUK gradually in late 2011 and early 2012 with the first Sports bulletins being broadcast from the new BBC Sport Centre on 5 March 2012. The BBC shares the rights to the FIFA World Cup with ITV, a near equal split of group stage and knockout stage games are shown, including a semi final and the final is shown on both networks. The BBC shows highlights of the Premier League on Match of the Day which has been hosted by Gary Lineker since 1999, Match of the Day 2 and Match of the Day 2 Extra, are presented by Mark Chapman. Dan Walker hosts Football Focus every Saturday lunchtime before Jason Mohammad presents Final Score every Saturday afternoon, the BBC also broadcasts live coverage of the FA Cup and will do so until 2018. BBC Sport currently holds the rights to broadcast the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, the Wimbledon contract has been held by the BBC since 1937 and the current contract lasts until 2017 making it the longest such contract in the world. The BBC produce over 900 hours of footage that is distributed to broadcasters in 159 different countries, BBC Wimbledon coverage is presented by former British number one and 1976 French Open Champion Sue Barker. Matches are broadcast live on BBC One, BBC Two, the Red Button, highlights are also shown on the long-running Today at Wimbledon, presented by Clare Balding, who replaced John Inverdale in 2015. The same year, the programme was renamed Wimbledon 2day, with a new lighthearted magazine format, but after one year. Regular tournament weather updates are provided by Carol Kirkwood, the BBC also broadcasts two traditional Grass warm up events in the fortnight before the Wimbledon Championships. First is the AEGON Championships from Queens Club, which takes two weeks before Wimbledon. Coverage is led by Sue Barker with commentary by Andrew Castle, Andrew Cotter, the following week is the WTA AEGON International event from Eastbourne. In 2015, coverage was introduced by John Inverdale and Lee McKenzie with commentary from Andrew Cotter, Sam Smith, both events are primarily shown on BBC Two. The BBC also shares broadcasting coverage of the ATP World Tour Finals with Sky Sports, showing one afternoon match per day including one semi-final and the final which are usually shown on BBC Two
St Helens R.F.C.
St Helens Rugby Football Club is a professional rugby league club in St Helens, Merseyside currently competing in the Super League, the top tier of competition for rugby league in Europe. Formed in 1873, St Helens are one of the 22 original members of the Northern Rugby Football Union and have been champions on 13 occasions. St Helens are also the third most successful side in the Challenge Cup with 12 wins in 21 Final appearances, St Helens are founding members of the Super League and are one of only four teams to have appeared in every season since its creation in 1996. Since 1961 the clubs colours have been white, with a red V on the jersey. St Helens play their games at the Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens, having moved from their previous home, Knowsley Road. St Helens are one of the oldest members of the Rugby Football League, founded as St Helens Football Club on 19 November 1873 at the Fleece Hotel by William Douglas Herman, they played their first ever match on 31 January 1874 against Liverpool Royal Infirmary. They became known as St Helens Rangers up until the 1880s, the club moved from the City Ground in 1890 where they had shared with St Helens Recs when neither were members of the Northern Rugby Football Union. They defeated Manchester Rangers in the first match played at Knowsley Road, in 1895 the club were one of 22 clubs that resigned from the Rugby Football Union and established the Northern Union. The first match of the new code was an 8—3 win at home to Rochdale Hornets before 3,000 spectators and they played in a vertically striped blue and white jersey—a stark contrast to the well known broad red band which would become the kit for the club later. The club reverted to this kit for one season during the rugby league season in 1995. The Challenge Cup was launched in 1897 and it was St Helens who contested its first final with Batley, at Headingley, the Gallant Youths of Batley emerged victorious 10—3, with Dave Red Traynor scoring the lone St Helens try. Between 1897 and 1901, St Helens were not successful, even considered a mid—table side. They finished second to bottom in the 1900—01 Lancashire League season, in the 1901—02 season, however, they did finish third in the Lancashire league. In 1902–03, the combined Lancashire and Yorkshire leagues saw St Helens enter for the first time, St Helens were placed in Division 1 but finished next to bottom and suffered relegation. Promotion was gained at the 1st attempt, only for another year to see them finish once again in a relegation position. However the two Divisions became one League to save the club from a 2nd relegation, on 14 June 1913, St Helens Recs joined the Northern Union after defecting from rugby union and association football. The Recs were based individually at the City Road ground, after previously sharing with St Helens, before their move to Knowsley Road, the Recs played their first game on 6 September 1913. St Helens now had two rugby league teams
The Catalans Dragons are a professional rugby league club in Perpignan, Pyrénées-Orientales, France. They play in the Super League, and are the team in the competition from outside Northern England. The Dragons play home games at Stade Gilbert Brutus, the club was formed in 2000 by a merger of XIII Catalan and AS Saint Estève into Union Treiziste Catalane. They won the 2005 French Rugby League Championship and the Lord Derby Cup in 2004 and 2005, in 2006, they were granted a Super League licence, taking the name Catalans Dragons. UTC continues to compete in the French Championships Elite One Championship as a club for the Dragons. The club was founded in 2000 after the merger of two teams in Perpignan, XIII Catalan and AS Saint Estève, the merged team took the name Union Treiziste Catalane, often abbreviated to UTC. XIII Catalan were founded in 1935 and thus were founding members of the French Championship, during their run, they won 11 French Championships and 11 Lord Derby Cups. AS Saint Estève were founded in 1965 and they won six championships and four Lord Derby Cups. There were two clubs in the twelve-team competition in Pyrénées-Orientales, Pia XIII and Saint-Cyprien. In 2002 Saint-Cyprien joined the merged UTC side, UTC proved successful, winning the 2005 French Championship and the 2004 and 2005 Lord Derby Cups. In 2005, UTC applied to join the Super League, the highest tier of rugby league in Europe. They were selected ahead of Toulouse Olympique and Villeneuve Leopards to enter the league for the 2006 season, the franchise was named Catalans Dragons, UTC remained in the French Championship to serve as a reserve club. The club set a target for 75% of the players be qualified to play for France, the Catalans are not the first French side to play in the Super League, but the first, Paris Saint-Germain, lasted only two seasons. Both rugby codes have their stronghold in the southwest of France, players on loan from French league clubs had to play for their own clubs as well, train in the south and take the long journey to Paris or England for matches. To ensure that the Catalans had the best French players available to them, the league also would not relegate them from the Super League for three years, even if they finished last. Many believe that the Catalans will be joined by other French clubs in the Super League, the Catalans won their first ever Super League match 38–30 against Wigan on 11 February 2006, at Stade Aimé Giral. The club encountered a steep learning curve in their first season in the Super League. Many of less experienced French players ran out of steam towards the end of a gruelling, a particular loss was that of key playmaker and Captain Stacey Jones, who missed much of the season with a broken arm
Castleford Tigers R. L. F. C. are an English rugby league club in Castleford, West Yorkshire, that plays in Super League. Formed in 1926, the club were members of the Super League in 1996 and have won the Challenge Cup four times. Their most recent major trophy was the 1994 Regal Trophy, Castleford have a rivalry with neighbours Featherstone Rovers, Wakefield Trinity and Leeds. The club have played at Wheldon Road in Castleford, since 1927 and their home colours are black and orange. Castleford RFC joined the Northern Rugby Football Union for the 1896–97 season, its second, not much is known about the original Castleford club, except that they have no connection with the present Castleford Tigers RLFC. Castleford joined the league for the 1926–27 season, many official records state that they were founded at this time but they had played successfully in the lower Yorkshire County Cup for several years before this date. They actually joined the League code around 1920 and played in early years at the Sandy Desert ground. The club went professional in 1926 and moved to their current home ground on Wheldon Road in 1926. The club soon started to make a mark on northern rugby, winning their first major trophy when they topped the Yorkshire League in 1932, in 1938, they made it to the Championship finals, but failed to take the cup. The Second World War meant the league was suspended soon after, Castleford finished fourth in the national league in the 1962/63 season. Castleford picked up where left off when they were again beaten in the Championship finals in 1969. However, this seemed to spur the team on, and 1969 and 1970 saw Castleford win the Challenge Cup for two consecutive years, with clubs legends Alan Hardisty and Keith Hepworth leading the team. John Sheridan was appointed coach in 1973 for a spell. Castlefords finished a respectable ninth in a table but Sheridan stepped down following criticism from fans. During the late 1970s Castleford edged up the league, and in 1986 they made it to the Premiership final and they finished consistently high over the next few years, and finished in the top four clubs in the Championship for four years during 1990–1995. Darryl van der Velde took Castleford to the Challenge Cup final Wembley where they were defeated by Wigan in 1992, a year later, Darryl van der Velde left to become chief executive of the South Queensland Crushers, he was succeeded by his assistant John Joyner. Through the Darryl van der Velde and early Joyner years Castleford were lauded for there style and were labelled Classy Cas and this enjoyable playing style was to come to fruition most spectacularly in 1994, when Castleford were dominating the league. As well as defeating legendary Wigan team to take the Regal Trophy 33–2 and that season John Joyner, was named Coach-of-the-Year by the RFL
Widnes Vikings R. L. F. C. is an English professional rugby league club based in Widnes, Cheshire which currently plays in the Super League, the top tier of European rugby league. The club plays its matches at the Select Security Stadium. Founded as Widnes Football Club, they are one of the original twenty-two rugby clubs formed the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895. The club enjoyed a period of success in the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s, in 1989, after winning their third Rugby League Championship, Widnes became the first official World Club Champions by beating the Australian champions Canberra Raiders 30-18 at Old Trafford. Their traditional nickname is The Chemics after the industry in Widnes. They have a local rivalry with Warrington Wolves. The Farnworth & Appleton Cricket Club was formed in 1871 and four years later the members decided to embrace the burgeoning football code, the first known game for the new Farnworth and Appleton FC was in Widnes in January 1876 played under rugby rules against Northwich Victoria. A few weeks later a match was played at Drill Field. These are the two known fixtures in that truncated first season. By May 1876 the club had changed its name to Widnes FC, by the late 1870s the club was being referred to as The Chemicals—subsequently shortened to The Chemics. The first ground was on Albert Road behind what is now the Premier Wetherspoons pub, from around 1878–84 the club were based at the junction of Millfield/Peelhouse Lane, apart from season 1880–81 when they played on the Widnes Cricket Club ground at Lowerhouse Lane. From 1884–95 they rented a field at Lowerhouse Lane before moving to their third separate site on that road in October 1895, the first ever game at what later became Naughton Park was against Liversedge on Saturday 12 October 1895. In 1895, Widnes were founder members of the Northern Union which broke away from the Rugby Football Union and their first game was an away fixture against Runcorn which they lost 15–4. During the early years, the club often had to sell players to balance the books, the strength of junior rugby league in the area meant the club had a steady stream of new players to offset any losses. In 1902, the Lancashire and Yorkshire leagues were combined to form a second division and he scored an extraordinary try to win the game, dribbling the ball from inside his own half. Thirteen Widnes players were killed during the conflict, the clubs first ever success came when they won the Lancashire League trophy in the 1919–20 season. However, the 1920s saw the club almost go to the wall, local rivals Warrington donated their share of the traditional Easter and Christmas derby matches to keep Widnes afloat in 1927–28. In 1930, Widnes with 12 local-born players defied the odds to beat St. Helens 10–3 to bring home the Challenge Cup, the Kingsway housing scheme threatened the loss of Widnes ground
Paul Simon Wellens is a retired English professional rugby league footballer. A Great Britain and England national representative fullback, he played his career with St. Helens, with whom he won several Super League championships. Wellens also became only the player to have won the Lance Todd Trophy, Harry Sunderland Trophy. Born in St. Helens, Wellens was educated by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Wellens joined the St. Helens ranks and made his Super League debut in the 1999 season. Success quickly followed and Wellens soon secured his place in perhaps St Helens strongest era, Wellens became renowned for his all round game, excelling particularly at taking catches. An England call up followed and with full back Kris Radlinski already established at international level, Wellens displayed his versatility with spells on the Wing and at Centre. A call up for Great Britain ensued, and he made a handful of appearances before being left out by then coach David Waite. Wellens played for St. Helens from the bench in their 1999 Super League Grand Final victory over Bradford Bulls. Having won the 1999 Championship, St Helens contested in the 2000 World Club Challenge against National Rugby League Premiers the Melbourne Storm, with Wellens playing at hooker in the loss. Wellens played for St Helens at fullback in their 2000 Super League Grand Final victory over Wigan, with a point to prove, Wellens became one of Super Leagues most notable performers and made the number 1 jersey his own at international level. His attitude and aptitude to the game earned him a reputation as a model professional, Wellens was selected in the Great Britain team to compete in the end of season 2004 Rugby League Tri-Nations tournament. In the final against Australia he played at fullback in the Lions 44-4 loss, Wellens played for St Helens at fullback in their 2006 Challenge Cup Final victory against Huddersfield. He was also awarded the Harry Sunderland Trophy as man of the match against Hull F. C. in 2006s Super League XI Grand Final, as 2006 Super League champions, St Helens faced 2006 NRL Premiers Brisbane Broncos in the 2007 World Club Challenge. Wellens played at fullback in the Saints 18-14 victory, in 2007 Wellens continued his form, but added another dimension to his game by becoming one of the leagues top try scorers. This was highlighted in the Millennium Magic weekend victory against rivals Wigan and he was named in the end of season Super League Dream Team for the third season running. He also became joint winner of the Lance Todd Trophy award in the 2007 Carnegie Challenge Cup Final against the Catalans Dragons at Wembley Stadium, in the 2008 Challenge Cup Final, Wellens retained the Lance Todd Trophy award. Wellens was selected for the England squad to compete in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup in Australia, in Group As first match against Papua New Guinea he played at fullback in Englands victory. In January 2009, Wellens played in his own testimonial match against Wakefield Trinity, in 2011, Wellens was named joint captain of St Helens alongside James Graham